Climate and science is covered by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Sea turtle swims in the ocean near the PhilippinesImage source, Steve De Neef/Universal Images Group/ Getty Images

The fifth attempt to pass a global agreement to protect the world's oceans has failed.

Governments in New York couldn't agree on the terms of the UN High Seas Treaty.

Almost two thirds of the world's oceans are international waters.

The environmental campaign group called it a missed opportunity.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was signed in 1982.

All countries have a right to fish, ship and do research in the high seas.

Climate change, overfishing and shipping traffic are threatening the survival of marine life living outside of protected areas.

Shark fins at a market in Hong KongImage source, Tim Graham/Getty Images
Image caption, Marine animals such as sharks are heavily fished for their meat and claimed medicinal properties

The EU and 168 other members of the original treaty came together to try and make a new agreement.

The status of the world's biodiversity was the subject of an interview with the International Union for theConservation of Nature.

The high seas are the blue heart of the planet, according to their senior high seas advisor.

We all care about what happens on the high seas.

Four key areas were the focus of the talks.

  • Establishing marine protected areas
  • Improving environmental impact assessments
  • Providing finance and capacity building to developing countries
  • Sharing of marine genetic resources - biological material from plants and animals in the ocean that can have benefits for society, such as pharmaceuticals, industrial processes and food

Prior to the meeting, more than 70 countries had agreed to put 30% of the world's oceans into protected areas.

Limits on how much fishing can be done would be put in place.

Minerals are taken from the sea bed that is at least 200m below the surface. The process of using these minerals could be harmful to marine life.

The International Seabed Authority issued 31 contracts to explore the deep sea for minerals.

Key issues of fishing rights, funding and support for developing countries were not reached.

The World Wildlife Foundation's Senior Ocean Governance expert, Jessica Battle, told the British Broadcasting Corporation that climate change will open up a whole new area in the northern part of the planet.

Some species will not be discovered before they become extinct if the treaty is not signed.

Bar chart showing the documentation of species at risk globally

Between 10% and 15% of marine species are at risk of extinction according to research published earlier this year.

The failure to pass the treaty will result in the loss of sharks and rays.

They are one of the most threatened species in the world.

The world's oceans are home to many migratory species such as sharks and turtles, which can be injured and killed by human activities.

Population decline is caused by the overfishing of sharks and rays.

Animals have been reduced across most major marine groups.

Diagram showing the threat to extinction for different marine species

A deadline has been set for the end of the year for countries to come back together to negotiate.

They have a lot of international meetings between now and January, including the annual climate conference COP 27.

There will be more work to be done if the treaty gets signed.

The treaty doesn't specify what areas of the ocean will be protected, just the process by which countries and organizations can apply for it.

The treaty is not expected to include exact figures on what financial support developing nations will receive from developed countries, according to the project director of the high seas campaign.

The previous treaty from 1982 left some developing nations frustrated because of unfulfilled promises.

The fate of the oceans is dependent on global action on climate change as part of other UN negotiations.

Increasing greenhouse gases produced by human activities have caused the world's seas to absorb most of the warming that has taken place.

Prof Alex Rogers from Oxford University, UK has provided evidence to inform the UN treaty process.

  • Biodiversity
  • United Nations
  • Climate change
  • Mining